In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
— Alfred Stieglitz.
It took me a while to find a quote I liked to start this post. For some reason, I find this topic to be quite personal, because my pictures are mine. They may not be the most advanced or the most creative ones, but they are just the way I want them to be. I am not a huge fan of extensive editing, but every once in a while, I do actually openn photoshop and/ or Gimp and get out my (limited) editing skills. But even if they are as raw as they can be, I find the photos to be special. Sometimes, they are a little more than what I saw with my own eyes. Sometimes, especially when it’s a tourist picture, they are a little less. Either way, they are a slightly different to the reality how I perceived it- and that’s just what I love.
I invested into a DSLR camera when I was sixteen, while also using my grandparent’s old machines which required a film. Even before that, I enjoyed taking pictures of everything that got in front of my phone/ digitial camera lense.
Since this blog is all about my passions and creativity, I wanted to give you some reasons (11, to be precise) why photography is such an amazing hobby to have!
- A change of perspective
When you have a camera in your hand, you suddendly get this itchy feeling in your fingers. You develop a sort of eagerness to get things in front of your camera that you haven’t had there before. Inconsciously, you start getting curious. What lays behind that window? What happens if I just put my camera onto the ground and press the button (the header image shows you what happens 😀 )?
Or, what does a mushroom look like from below? You start seeing things with different eyes. On a picture, leaves can become landscapes, flowers can become artworks, and mushrooms may look like fancy buildings from Star Wars 🙂
2. Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary
The phenomenon described in (1) goes hand in hand with this point. Looking at things from a different angle reveals unknown beauty, unknown details, unknown anything! Things you took for given somehow become pieces of art and reveal a whole new sort of attraction. Whenever I feel down, or bored, I just take my camera and go for a walk. When I come back and look at the phootos on my screen, I am often startled by the beauty I had never seen or just completely forgotten about. 3. It’s the little things
I mean that both literally and in a metaphorical sense. Just try out some macro photography (as displayed below), and you’ll see how beautiful close-ups of small things are!
On the other side, small details can make such a huge different to any picture! Think about the lighting, for example. I love taking pictures of the same place at different times of the day- they look completely different! Phorography makes you notice these details, and that’s what I love about it. It makes you live more intesively, consciously, and helps you getting so much more out of your senses. 4. Catching memories
A few years ago, I started making photo albums of every longer holiday/ trip. I used to spend hours selecting the pictures, printing them out, sticking them into a book and scribbeling short descriptions or anecdotes below them. I love how opening them at a later date feels as if I was travelling back in time. I suddendly feel as if I can smell the air, hear the noises again of that time and place the photo was taken at. Do you know that saying about how amazing it would be to be able to take your favourite memories, put them into a jar and open it whenever you need? I think photography is as close as you can get to that!5. Freezing Moments
… And it does so much more than just preserving memories. Look at the picture below: It’s blurry, taken through a bus window with an IPhone, while the bus was still driving, I know all that. But look again. What a coincidence. The horses are in the middle of escaping from their stable, while there is a complete rainbow promising them freedom. This glimpse of a second (and it was nothing more than that, believe me), is forever vivid in this picture- and that’s what photography is about. It’s not about perfection, it’s about life. 6. Living in the present
As I explained earlier, I find that photography sharpens your senses. That way, you experience reality more intensively, you notice little details you completely oversaw before. Little things become special, you find joy in the tiniest moments, if you look close enough.7. Challenging yourself
Well, again, this can be applied in two ways: As you can tell from the picture, I sometimes do actually get out of my comfort zone just to get the perfect shot (don’t we all?), but the more important way I mean this statement applies to the process of taking a picture itself: There are so many challenges you can do, for example. Ever heard of the 365 project, where you have to take a photo each day for an entire year?
I love how these challenges can make you explore new things, get out of your comfort zone, and learn about photography, and the world itself. 8. Telling a story
Photography is the story I fail to put into words.– Destin Sparks
Aside from the starting quote, I think there is no more precise statement about what photography does. It is a way of expressing oneself, of communicating with people without the need for a language.
Like every form of art, it is a way of engaging with people all around the world (potentially), without any language or cultural barriers. And, what’s even better, some pictures can mean different things to different people.
I love reading, I am a huge nerd. Nevertheless, there is just something about a good picture that is even more impressive, gets closer to me than a text.
The pictures below are from a series I did when trying to picture urban decay. Again, they are completely unedited- the only change I made was putting my camerra into black&white mode.
9. Surprising yourself (and others)
Sometimes, when downloading the photos from my SD card and opening them on a large screen for the first time, I am amazed by how they turned out. Often, the are completely different to what I expected, especially when it is macro-photography. Look at that little fellow, for example- I thought I had his whole body in focus (well, I actually do have another picture where it is), but the fact that only his head is perfectly detailed is giving the picture a special depth, and makes the tiny chap look even more exotic than he is. 10. Anytime, anywhere
… Except, maybe, places like the Buddhist temple where the picture below was taken. Photography was strictly prohibited, but I couldn’t resist (Don’t try this at home 😀 ). You don’t need a big camera, you don’t need fancy equipment. Just get out your phone and get creative! There is no perfection, and there is no…11. Right or wrong
… It just doesn’t exist. Sure, there are “right” settings on your camera to achieve a certain level of depth or brightness, but there is no such thing as a universally applicable standard for photography. It’s all about your preferences. I know my pictures aren’t perfect in a technological sense, but they are perfect to me, in what they display, and what they express. And that’s what any kind of art is about- your very own, personal, subjective opinion. 12. Getting creative
Last but not least, the simplest, and maybe most obvious reason why photography is such a great hobby: It is a way to channel your creativity, or to revitalise it! Having a camera in your hand is opening a world full of opportunities, and whenever I get to lay my hands on one, I feel this weird tickle in my finger tips to get started. I’m sure you’ll feel it as well!
Having said all this, just one piece of advise: Don’t use your camera as a sort of shield between you and reality. When you’re on holiday, don’t become one of these Asian tourists that never look up from their smartphones or tablets they are taking thousands of pictures with.
Before getting out your camera, make sure you have properly looked at your surroundings, that you have inhaled the smell, heard the noises. Then, you can get it out and try to catch these impressions on film (or SD card 😀 ).